If you want to know which are the best new production yachts
out on the market at the moment, the best indicator is to look at the shortlisted boats
in the European Yacht of the Year (shown below).
The European Yacht of the Year is the most thorough competition there is for production boats, the only one that comprises 11 different magazines, from 11 different European nations, testing 25 yachts in five different categories, over two weeks in two different seas.Following the running of the seatrials in the autumn of 2014, and the long jury discussions, the awards for the winners of the European Yacht of the Year 2015 were announced tonight, Saturday 17 January, the opening night of the Dusseldorf Boatshow
.The five categories comprise Performance Cruisers, Family Cruisers, Luxury Cruisers, Special Yachts, and, for the first time to reflect the growing interest in this sector, Bluewater cruisers. As usual, there were some close decisions, particularly in the Family Cruiser and Performance Cruiser
divisions, where debates raged and voting was tight. The winners, accompanied by our thoughts, plus some quotes from the European judges further below, are as follows:JPK 1080 [Performance Cruisers]
As the appeal of racing shorthanded grows steadily there is a greater incentive for owners to find boats that are suitable and competitive for both shorthanded and fully crewed racing. In the 36ft range, two boats in particular are attracting a great deal of interest: the Sun Fast 3600 and the JPK 1080. Little surprise then that both boats made it to the EYOTY shortlist.When it came to the judging, the competition was very tight between these two. There was little to choose between their accommodation and layout, both are well thought out and easy to sail. When it came to performance, both handle well and already have promising racing results. But the JPK has the edge when it comes to configuration when fully crewed and appears to be slightly more versatile. We also prefer the construction of the JPK.Wauquiez Centurion 57 [Luxury Cruisers]
With the 57, Wauquiez
is certainly sending out a clear message that it is back in the business of producing quality cruisers for discerning sailors. The Centurion 57 represents good build quality at a reasonable price, a comfortable and well-finished yacht throughout. It was also one of only a couple of yachts
to venture out in the big seas and swells when the wind was up to a Force 7, and cope commendably with the conditions. It is not the most modern looking of the category, indeed the Berret-Racoupeau hull is taken from the seven-year-old 55 Pilot Saloon, but it is perhaps the most timeless, with the heart of a real cruising yacht. More versatile than radical she feels robust, well thought-out and finished with a warm and calm interior.Bavaria Cruiser 46 [Family Cruisers]
The Bavaria 46 is perhaps proof that you can get both a cheap yacht that is value for money. The German production giants continue to diligently improve build quality year after year. Many of the judges spoke of this being the best Bavaria they had tested (see quotes further down), and the most solidly built. Our Italian colleague Vanni Galgani, editor of Fare Vela, perhaps summarises her the most eloquently (including some Italian enthusiasm of course):“Maybe the best Bavaria ever, for sure the best of this new generation, she puts together excellent performance, both down and upwind, with outstanding interior spaces that suit perfectly both owner and charter versions. It may not be very pretty, but it is far better than the 45, with a completely new deck. And these are only the things you can see immediately, because the biggest improvements are done in the hidden parts, with general quality the best of her class. All this, not to forget, at a very, very good price.”Boreal 52 [Bluewater Cruisers]
There cannot be many brochures that describe their boat’s accommodation as having, ‘a desk in every cabin where bluewater children can do their homework.’ But this is just one of many examples of what this boat
is all about – live aboard, go anywhere. Solidly built above and below decks the Boreal 52
is the result of many miles at sea with a family aboard. While her chined alloy hull won’t appeal to everyone, the same rugged style will instil confidence for many.When it came to her performance, at 18 tonnes she was surprisingly nimble, even in the light winds during our test, and was a very easy boat to handle with well thought out control line runs. All this for a custom-built boat with a price tag that is still considerably less than some popular alternatives even when you’ve added all of the listed options. The Boreal 52 brings home what a real deepwater cruiser needs to be like. A go-anywhere boat, with a lifting keel, that is full of clever and innovative details, especially the doghouse/navstation that is based on the experience of many hard-fought miles. Advanced Yachts 44 [Special Yachts]
Sometimes you have to reward the will to do something wild and different. The Advanced 44 lives up to her name by being the most contemporary monohull of 2014, and one that puts sailing pleasure above any trivialities like practicality and cost. And what a sensation she provides… the ride is stable, direct and super-responsive – this is a true supercar of the sea.The 44 is an innovative, flamboyant plaything, a high performance race boat that has a luxury pad within for day cruising, and even a sailing clinic arranged by the builder to help clients manage the boats and help get the best from them. A great job by Nauta Design and Roberto Biscontini, she has performance to match the style –and congratulations to Advanced for having the balls to do such a project!